Eurocopter UK says it will work with police forces to mitigate the effects of expected deep public spending cuts by offering them alternative ways to acquire helicopters.

It comes as Eurocopter consolidated its market-leading position in the UK law enforcement market by handing over an EC135 at the show yesterday to assistant chief constable of the West Midlands Police, Sharon Rowe. The constabulary ordered the EC135 in September last year after its previous helicopter was destroyed by arson.

The EADS subsidiary claims 75% of the UK police helicopter fleet and will have delivered seven EC135s and two examples of its EC145 big sister to police air support units between September last year and the end of 2010.

Chilterns Police EC135
 © Eurocopter

Traditionally, UK police forces have owned their helicopters outright. Markus Steinke, managing director of Eurocopter UK, says the Oxford-based business will "look at everything" when it comes to offering different financing and support solutions, including full "power by the hour" arrangements where Eurocopter retains the asset, maintains the equipment and charges the customer per flight.

"Until we consult with them, we won't know what the possibilities are," he says.

Eurocopter UK has already introduced a new maintenance concept, separating high-time, high-tech police helicopters, where fast turn around times and "optimal, specialised service" are at a premium, from the VIP/corporate segment.

Eurocopter also dominates the North Sea sector, with around 80% of a 100-strong fleet of long-range, heavy-duty transports.

Next month its new training and parts logistics centre at Aberdeen airport will take delivery of its first simulator, an Indra-built EC225. The Super Puma is the workhorse of the North Sea fleet. The first customer pilots will begin training on the equipment in January.

The centre is next to the maintenance bases of the major North Sea operators and, according to Steinke, most parts will be delivered by bicycle.

Source: Flight Daily News